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The Dark and Hollow Places [Paperback]

Carrie Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 13 2012 Forest of Hands and Teeth (Book 3)
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.  
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?


From the Hardcover edition.

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The Dark and Hollow Places + The Dead-Tossed Waves + The Forest of Hands and Teeth
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About the Author

   CARRIE RYAN is the New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy that includes The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places, and the original ebook Hare Moon. She has edited the short story anthology Foretold: 14 Stories of Prophecy and Prediction and contributed to many other story collections herself, including Zombies vs. Unicorns, Kiss Me Deadly, and Enthralled. Her work has been translated into over eighteen languages and her first novel is in production as a major motion picture. Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now writes full time and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Visit her at CarrieRyan.com.




From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I

This city used to be something once. I’ve seen pictures of the way it gleamed—sun so bright off windows it could burn your eyes. At night, lights shouted from steel like catcalls, loud and lewd, while all day long white-gloved men rushed to open doors for women who tottered about on skyscraper heels.
 
I wonder sometimes what happened to those women when the Return hit—how they were able to run and survive with such absurd contraptions strapped to their feet. How different the world must have been before—safe and comfortable.
 
The City’s nothing like that anymore. Now, bare beams scrape the sky like splintered finger bones. Half the high-rises have fallen, and scavengers pilfered the intricately scrolled ironwork long ago. There’s not much of anything left anymore, just the fear that seeps fog-like through the streets.
 
Fear of the Recruiters. Fear of the Unconsecrated. Fear of tomorrow.
 
Even so, this city’s been my home. Other than the village I lived in as a child, this is the only world I’ve known. It’s sharp-cornered and raw but it’s a refuge for those with a burn to survive. You pay your rents, you follow the rules and you do what it takes to keep living.
 
Which is why I find myself on the Neverlands side of the Palisade wall that cordons off and protects the Dark City as the last dregs of evening slide across the sky. This is the place where Elias would go when he was desperate for money, desperate to trade so we could pay our rent and stay in our tiny flat for another year. It’s the place where anything can be found for the right trade, and where, after the blade of my only knife broke this afternoon, I’ve come for help.
 
Clutching the replacement blade tightly, I’ve started to cross over one of the bridges strung between two buildings when I hear a deep rumbling cough. It’s approaching dusk and storm clouds hover over the river, causing the light to drip a dull green. I shuffle faster toward the next roof, determined to get back to my flat in the Dark City before full night, but as soon as my foot lands on the rickety bridge connecting the buildings a voice calls out, “Wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
 
I freeze, the frayed rope railing in one hand. I’ve been alone long enough to have learned to look out for myself, yet something about the warning makes me hesitate. Just as I start to take another step the voice says, “Look down,” and I do.
 
The alley a dozen stories below is dim and choked in shadows, but even so I see something moving. A moan floats up, echoing softly between the buildings as it rises. The sun breaks through a narrow gap in the clouds and the light reflects down the alley, glinting briefly off what looks like eyes and a row of cracked teeth.
 
As my gaze adjusts I can make out dozens of clawing fingers reaching for me amid a pile of broken bodies that should have died from their fall but didn’t. Or maybe they did die and infection’s brought them back as plague rats. I shiver, disgust rolling through me.
 
Carefully, I inch back onto the roof, noticing how the wooden boards I was just about to walk onto are rotten. One step more and I’d have been down on that heap as well.
 
“You’re the first one to listen to me and not take a dive,” the voice says, and I spin, pulling my new knife between us. A woman sits tucked between two crumbling stone chimneys. In her hand she clutches a charred wooden pipe that feebly chokes out smoke.
 
I glance around the roof, expecting some sort of trap. The woman gestures toward my knife. “Don’t bother,” she says. “Just me up here.”
 
She puts the pipe back in her mouth, the end of it burning a bright red, and in that instant I get a clear look at her face: thick dark lines painted around eyes smudged by tears or sweat or both. Then the ember fades, pulling her back into shadow.
 
But not before I see the raw circle around her wrist, festering with infection. The flesh edging the wound puffs and oozes, and I recognize it as a bite. I pull my knife back up between us, refusing to let it shake.
 
I’m usually pretty good at avoiding any confrontation with the Unconsecrated. No matter how careful you are, there’s always the risk that something will go wrong and they’ll get their teeth into you one way or another.
 
The woman shrugs and inhales. The light makes her skin glow again and I watch how her hand trembles. Cracks etch through the powder she used to make her old skin appear blushing and fresh—it looks like a fractured mirror instead.
 
I think of my own face, the scars overlaying the left side of my body like a thick spider web. Her cracks can be washed away. Mine can’t.
 
It’s easy to see that she’s close to the end—when the infection will kill her. I glance down again at the pile of bodies below, their feeble moans filtering into the night. She’ll be one of them soon. If she’s lucky someone will take care of her before she turns. If she isn’t…
 
I swallow.
 
With a sickening heaviness in my stomach I realize I’m the one who’s going to have to kill her. It makes me feel off balance and I take a few steps away from the edge of the building, suddenly unsettled by such height.
 
The last of the evening light slides down my body, a final brush of heat, before disappearing for what will be yet another night of forever. The woman’s eyes aren’t on my knife; instead they focus on my face.
 
She inhales but her chest barely moves. She considers me a moment, staring at my scars. “There are men who like ’em like you—messed up,” she says, nodding. Her gaze slips past me back down the island toward the ruins of the bigger buildings of the Dark City in the distance.
 
No they don’t, I think.
 
She exhales a wavering line of smoke. “But more ’n likely, they’re the ones that want to do the messing.” She pushes a thumb into the corner of her mouth, as if tidying up a lip stain that she’s no longer wearing, the gesture a habit of so many years that’s become useless.
 
I should say something. I should be comforting or consoling or helpful. This woman’s infected and she’s facing the final moments of her life and I realize how utterly useless I am faced with the enormity of what’s going on. Instead I clear my throat. How in the world would I know what could give this woman comfort?
 




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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Kindle Edition
The above quote, from the book gives a glimpse of Ryan's gift of storytelling.

If you've read the previous 2 books, you're familiar with the zombie infested world our main character live. This book, as a final installment did not disappoint me. It was quite the opposite... perfect for leaving enough room of hope in a dark, and bitter dystopia full of zombies ready to tear you apart. I liked the main character, Annah and her constant struggle to survive and keep whatever humanity was left inside her. I really enjoyed reading these books. And I applaud Carrie Ryan's intense approach to life and death, love and sorrow.

It will most likely take you to those dark and hollow places you really wish didn't exist... but you know they do.

This book is one of my favourite ones.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Hollow Places June 6 2011
Format:Hardcover
The Dark and Hollow Places has everything readers love about Ryan's stories: zombies, love triangles and heart stopping, page turning action. While I'll admit I didn't connect as well to Annah's voice as I did to Garby's and I missed the connection with Mary's story, there was still a lot to love in this final chapter. I liked the bleakness of the world married with the hope of the little group who refused to give up. Despite there being happiness and completion to the characters' stories, the novel is still very gritty, staying true to the original two books. I would recommend reading the other two books again if it's been a while; the story jumps to a different character and doesn't put a lot of time into explaining connections. It took a while for me to remember what was going on. However, a solid ending to one of my most favourite series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling Conclusion! Wish There Was More. May 6 2011
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Reason for Reading: Next and (last?) book in the series.

This series has always been referred to as a trilogy and still is on the back flap of this book, so I'm assuming this is the last book in the series. I say this as it has one of those endings that doesn't quite satisfy, that could leave room for a sequel. But if this is indeed the final book, then I'm still mulling over whether I actually like how the book ends.

Otherwise, this was a terrific book that brings back all former major characters, except one who is spoken of often so we know where they are in the story and introduces one (sort of) new character. The story is a page-turner from beginning to end; was a book I couldn't put down and I loved the characters, though I found my opinion of them had changed from the previous book. A favourite character from before became less liked and was replaced by someone else as the plot progressed and the characters responses brought them either closer or further from my heart. The year wait between books does fade my memory a bit but I remembered everyone and what was going on pretty quickly as the story progressed. This story is very violent, certainly not for the squeamish. Of course, there is lots of zombie violence but humans are maimed and killed as well. Reader beware. I love the direction the story went. It is a bit over the top in believability but hey, so are zombies! The plot is dark and this is a story with not many bright spots. There are glimmers of hope that keep the characters from giving up and ultimately reaching the climax but the book ends on an unknown note, with only visions of what the future will hold. The ending may bother some readers who like there books to tell them how everything is all neatly wrapped up at the end.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  147 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read May 4 2011
By Jennifer Rossi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The book begins with an emotional, not action-oriented, bang. Right from the start we see exactly what is at Annah's core and the rest of the story deconstructs what we see in the first chapter, removing layer by layer the hard outer shell she has constructed around her heart. Annah is, by far, Ms. Ryan's most mature and well-developed protagonist to date. She is intelligent, sometimes (appropriately) naive, vulnerable, and street savvy. We are given so many reason to care about her and her survival even when she's being a bit dramatic (what teen isn't?) or indecisive (what human isn't?). What I found I liked best about Annah is that she is very real. She is a girl who could be set into any time or place and resonate perfectly.

I was pleased with how Ms. Ryan has grown up her other characters, especially Gabry who seems to have finally made a choice she is willing to live with for a good long time. One of my frustrations with being in her head (for Dead Tossed Waves) was that she flip-flopped so much between the two guys that I finally didn't care who she picked as long as she did it and stopped thinking about it in the middle of a zombie infested present. This time around, Gabry has matured and is even able to express more of her innate sweet nature and true romantic sensibilities.

I was pleasantly surprised with how the Ms. Ryan progressed the relationship between Annah and everyone she comes in contact with, especially Catcher who has his own wounded character to overcome. Catcher is now my absolute favorite of Ms. Ryan's male characters. He's got the whole dark and brooding with a hidden soft spot down pat and he's been written so well that it doesn't ring false in any way.

Every character, even the peripheral ones, was well thought out and given backstory -- even a couple of the zombies had them! And along with great characterization, Ms. Ryan continued her robust world building seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly with this third book in the series. I was never bored by the exposition of the world's past and present predicament. There were no scenes that I felt had no purpose other than to elongate the book and I enjoyed the entire up and down of the emotional rollercoaster.

The reason this book doesn't receive 5 stars instead of 4 is for the pure frustration the first half of the book presented to me in the form of Annah's regret. She finds about 50 ways to re-phrase the situation that took place in the woods where she left behind Abigail (Gabry) and felt guilty for years afterward and never expecting her sister to forgive her. It seemed to come up once a page in some way or another and I found the repetition grating after a while. The saving grace is that there is more than enough other things happening to propel the book along at a good clip away from these continuous thoughts and into action and suspense!

It has been really fun watching Ms. Ryan's abilities progress and I feel like this book is a triumph. If you're a fan of the series or YA dystopian/zombie novels in general, pick this up and read it! It's fantastic. Kudos, Ms. Ryan.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At the end of the world.... what is left? March 25 2011
By Jessie Potts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In The Forest of Hands and Teeth and even Dead Tossed Waves our view of the world is very limited. The characters are all hemmed in by the fences. Their whole worlds are their villages then what's inside of the gates. We don't really get to see how the rest of the world survives and is dealing. It's in human nature to be greedy and selfish, so I was fascinated in Dead Tossed Waves at the mention of the Dark City. Certainly we would be able to see how humanity (those not `protected' by the gates and fences) survived. We definitely get a look at that in this book.

Annah (Gabry's twin) lives in the Dark City. Her view is vastly different than Mary's longing for more and Gabry's need for safety. No Annah lives in a scary world where the unconsecrated aren't the worst threats out there. Annah also is angry and hurt that Elias left, but is constantly waiting for him to return to her. She misses her twin, she misses Elias... but she is so brave and instinctual when it comes to her decisions. Elias isn't so pretty from Annah's perspective, but we see Catcher all over again through her eyes. The zombies in this book are a little more `real' then before, we see more of them, and many encounters remind me of Mary's with the girl in the red vest/jacket. Very eerie, and very sad.

At the end of the Forest of Hands and Teeth I cried (something I rarely do with books) because it was like... is this it? Mary lost so much, gave up so much and this is it? A beach covered with bodies and no end in sight? At the end of Dead Tossed Waves I found myself worried for Annah and especially Catcher as he represents a new aspect and twist of the infection. At the end of The Dark and Hollow Places I was again filled with this horrible empty feeling... is this it? What would you do if this was what life was life... no end to the mudo or unconsecrated in sight... no miracle cure for the zombies... just life, uncertain awful violent life. I adore Carrie Ryan though and adore her books for making me feel so small, I love how powerful they are. This is the end of the trilogy, and there's also a short story about the beginning of the infection in Zombie vs. Unicorns. I can't wait to see what Ryan will publish next, whatever it is you can be sure it'll be fantastic. Enjoy.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite out of the series! March 24 2011
By cynthia (A Blog about Nothing) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Every now and then you might get a bit sad when you come to the end of a series that you loved so much, this is how I felt after reading The Dark and Hollow Places. I fell in love with this series unintentionally, I started reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth thanks to the high recommendations from book friends. Of course at the time they didn't know that I had a huge phobia about anything zombie related and well by reading the synopsis I wasn't aware that it would be about zombies because they are called the Unconsecrated. After reading a few chapters and even after figuring out that there were zombies in the book I couldn't force myself to give it up, it was too late for me, I was invested in these characters because this series was about so much more than just the creepy flesh eating undead, it was about survival, hope and love and I was in it for good.

In the Dark and Hollow Places we get taken to the Dark City, and see the story unfold through the eyes of Annah, the other twin. At first I was a bit sad that we wouldn't get to see it from Gabry's point of view, I wanted to know more about her and what happened after the end of The Dead Tossed Waves but I quickly got over that once I got to know Annah and her story. I really admired Annah for her courage and will to live, I mean this girl spends most of her time and spent pretty much years on her own waiting for Elias and she's still not willing to give up. I would've been freaking out in some of these scenes in the book and locked myself in a closet shaking with fear waiting for death, yeah, I'm a wuss. Not Annah, she was willing to fight her way to survive and sacrifice herself for her loved ones if she had to, the fact that she never gives up throughout the whole book is why I admire her so much.

In The Dark and Hollow Places Gabry, Annah, Elias and Catcher come together and we get to find out what happened to Catcher and Gabry after the end of The Dead Tossed Waves and also to Elias. In this one they struggle for survival through most of the story but not only against the unconsecrated but also against the people in charge of the city that are suppose to be protecting them but have become corrupted and are pretty much worst than the zombies.

The Dark and Hollow Places gives us a bit more of a closer look at what the world may have seemed like after the return, it is chaotic through most of it. We get a huge amount of up close encounters with the unconsecrated, and it was so much creepier that I got goosebumps and was at the edge of my seat through most of the story. It was so thrilling and intense that I was chewing my nails through most of this novel without even realizing it. I loved every minute of it, even if I couldn't read it at night and I would gladly take three more of these novels. I'm not ready to say goodbye to it yet, I loved Catcher and Annah and I want more.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For the most part, a worthy trilogy ending April 16 2011
By Cyndy Otty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The most common description I hear about this trilogy is how scary the first two books were. Being pretty squeamish when it comes to horror, it surprises me that I haven't found them particularly frightening. I don't really have any specific reason I can give for why; perhaps my mind just glossed over those bits everyone found so horrifying. Suffice it to say, I definitely can't say that about this book. I literally felt my heart rate increase during some chapters and I think I may have developed a crippling fear of the dark! Without a doubt this is certainly the most intense of the trilogy.

I also think Ryan has just continued to improve as a writer. The plot is gripping and fast-paced and fully laden with suspense. I also was pleased to see some of the threads from the previous books resolved, but it still irritates me that there's yet another love triangle. This one isn't as in-your-face the entire book and could be argued doesn't technically exist because Annah keeps internally admitting she's not in love with Elias. (Though, she waffles back and forth on that so much, I find that argument shaky at best.) Just the fact that this exact thing has been done before with other characters in both previous books, I couldn't help but groan that it emerged yet again. At least all the coupling gets resolved, so that's certainly not nothing.

Ryan also pushes the line at crossing over from young adult in this book. The level and extent of violence in this book is a big notch above the others. I suppose it's assumed in a post-apocalyptic world that things like torture and rape are going on, but while the one is merely alluded to the other is presented quite boldly. A lot of the more frightening and intense parts of the book stem from these topics and I think that's mostly due to how grounded in reality such things are. Just because there's a fantastical element that pushes the plot along, there is this fierce struggle that the characters are placed in -- especially Annah. It isn't so much about avoiding the zombie horde as trying to survive in the face of overwhelming death and relentless evil. There's a lot of intriguing philosophy thread throughout the book, too, about living one's life with worth and mortality. It's very deep and I think brings the entire series onto a different level.

In spite of that, I had a very hard time enjoying this book because I found myself almost constantly angry with Annah. Often I kept wishing another character would haul off and cuff her upside the head. While I found her self-pity understandable, her reactions often seemed irrational. It seemed like at every opportunity she was misinterpreting something said to her or a situation presented to her. And when she wasn't being downright bitchy she was just incredibly moronic. I found it very annoying to be inside her head. Though, I will say that much like Gabry, she does have a good deal of agency which was my major issue with Mary (in the first book). She's able to take initiative of her own and is the one that basically leads the group out of their predicament. It's just the entire time to getting there I wanted to physically shake her!

My main expectation for the ending of a trilogy is that the payoff be worthy and I did find this to have an adequate ending. Though, it is ambiguous enough that it doesn't feel like a true conclusion to the story as a whole. At the very least, I don't regret the investment in reading this or the series as a whole.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good finale March 22 2011
By Christina Thurairatnam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This third and final book in the series features characters from The Dead Tossed Waves and introduces us to the new character, Annah. She is a very different protagonist from Gabry, the main character of The Dead Tossed Waves, because of how their life experiences have shaped them. Annah is both brave and vulnerable. She has insecurities about her disfigured appearance and she also has abandonment issues to deal with. At the same time she knows how to defend herself and survive on her own. When she first meets Catcher it is hard for her to trust him. She is used to looking out for herself and having to trust him is a difficult thing for her. Annah has some pain from Elias's betrayal years before and it is made worse with the return of Elias and her twin. As Annah gets to know her sister though, there are some touching moments of healing.

Catcher also has some issues to deal with such as his fears of others becoming infected. Although I didn't like all of the decisions Catcher made over the course of the book, I still liked him as a character. The one returning character I had issues with was Elias. Seeing him through Annah's eyes rather than Gabry's made me not like him very much partly because of his past treatment of her. He refuses to see the consequences of the decision he made at the beginning of the book until it is almost too late.

The Dark and Hollow Places is a good finale to this series. True to its title, this is a very dark book. In a way, its tone is reminiscent of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. There is a stronger sense of hopelessness and the characters are forced to ask themselves hard questions about right and wrong. Life isn't just black and white, there are shades of gray. Even as the trilogy draws to a close, Carrie Ryan leaves us with no easy answers for the future of the world she created. The message seems to be that you just go on and do what you need to do to survive and at the end of the day, there is a glimmer of hope for brighter days ahead.

Readalikes: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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